Democratic Ocean County Freeholder candidate Teddy Price endorsed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin on Wednesday, but he does not intend to drop off the ticket at the request of Ocean County Democratic Chairman Wyatt Earp, nor does he intend to flip to Hugin’s party, as Brick Councilman Jim Fozman did after endorsing Hugin last week.
“Absolutely not,” Price said when asked if he intended to drop off the ticket. “I was elected by the people fair and square in the Democratic primary.”
While Price said that his support for Hugin lay in the candidate’s socially-liberal policy positions – like Hugin’s support of women’s rights, marriage equality and environmental protections – and concerns about Menendez’s ethics troubles, the partial defection appears to be at least somewhat rooted in an internal feud with the county party.
Price said he still supports Andy Kim, Josh Welle and other Democratic candidates in the state.
“My county organization puts people on the ballot and then ignores them,” Price said. “That’s part of the problem here in Ocean County.”
Earp disputed that claim, saying that Price was the one guilty of absenteeism.
The candidate, Earp said, had largely been AWOL since winning his primary race.
“He hasn’t shown up to anything since June, and even then, he’s done basically nothing,” Earp said.
The dispute also seems to run a little bit deeper than Price’s endorsement of Hugin.
A source familiar with the race who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that Price had hidden previous criminal issues from the county organization.
The source shared three news clips from the 1980s about legal troubles Price had encountered. According to the news clips, which can be found at the bottom of this article, Price was charged with resisting arrest, assault and battery of a police officer, interfering with police and disorderly conduct in 1981 after he allegedly got into a fight with officers outside of a bar.
Then, in a separate incident dated 1985, Price was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and riding on parts of a car not intended for passengers. In this incident, Price allegedly got into a fight with a police officer after fleeing and then returning to the scene of a traffic stop that was initiated because Price was hanging onto the car in question.
In 1980, Price was fined for tampering with the tangible property of another after he and two friends allegedly put a lifeguard stand in the water, which carried the stand half a mile into Barnegut Bay, and tipped over a portable toilet. The three told the case’s judge that alcohol was involved in this incident.